U.S. Dairy Exports Continue Their Record Run

April 7, 2014 06:16 AM
U.S. Dairy Exports Continue Their Record Run

February’s total value reached $585.2 million, 37% above year-ago levels and the highest figure ever.

Source: U.S. Dairy Export Council

U.S. export volumes in February were the highest in six months (on a daily-average basis), led by strong sales of cheese, whey proteins and butterfat.

U.S. suppliers shipped 160,510 tons of milk powders, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose in February, up 19% from last year. Total value of all exports was $585.2 million, up 37% from a year ago. On a daily-average basis, this is the highest figure ever.

Cheese exports in February were 31,264 tons, up 44% from a year ago and the most ever on a daily-average basis. Shipments to Mexico were up 46% vs. prior year, while Japan (+58%) and South Korea (+43%) posted large gains. In addition, exports to Saudi Arabia nearly tripled.

Total whey exports topped 39,000 tons in February, the most in six months. Export volumes were 18% more than January (daily average) and 11% more than a year ago. Exports of dry whey, whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate were all above prior-year and prior-month levels. China remains the major customer for U.S. whey products, with February purchases up 47% from a year earlier.

U.S. exporters also continue to expand shipments of butterfat (+102% vs. last February), whole milk powder (+191%) and milk protein concentrate (+58%). In the last eight months, butterfat exports averaged 9,700 tons per month, with the majority going to the Middle East/North Africa region. Major customers for WMP are Algeria, China and Vietnam. Top buyers for MPC are New Zealand and

Meanwhile, exports of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) have slowed considerably from the volumes shipped from April-October last year. During that seven-month stretch, U.S. exports average 51,268 tons per month. In February, exports were just 36,168 tons. As a result, NDM/SMP exports in January represented only 45% of U.S. powder production for the month, leading to a hefty build-up of inventory. In the first two months of the year, NDM/SMP shipments to Southeast Asia rose 38% from the prior year, but sales to Mexico fell 22%.

Lactose exports in the first two months of 2014 were about the same as the first two months of 2013.

U.S. exports (on a total milk solids basis) were equivalent to 15.5% of U.S. milk solids production in February. Imports were equivalent to 2.9% of production.

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